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Becoming a Law Professor: A Candidate's Guide Paperback – October 16, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: American Bar Association (October 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604429941
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604429947
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,352,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Thomas on September 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
I must admit that when I received my copy of this book in the mail and I noted its very slender profile, I half-wondered if I had been duped. Occupying just a little over one hundred narrow pages, it initially appears to be almost too concise. But make no mistake: this text contains a plethora of useful information, organized in an extremely efficient manner.

The authors essentially act as a friendly face to guide you in a linear fashion through the daunting process of gaining entrance to the legal academy, with a great deal of wit and insight along the way. They cover everything from the life of a law professor to the intricacies of the lengthy process of applying for, interviewing for, and obtaining your first law school faculty position. No shortage of verbiage is dedicated to offering guidance to those candidates with non-traditional resumes, that is to say, those who did not obtain a law degree at a top ten institution or complete a federal appellate courtship. The authors are not selling an unrealistic dream here, either; rather, they offer practical guidance to the full scope of potential applicants.

The text is roughly divided into thirds:

1. information about the different sorts of law school faculty positions and the professional lives that those faculty lead;

2. applying/interviewing/getting an offer, including detailed information about the Faculty Recruitment Conference; and

3. what to do if you do obtain a position (preparing for your new career) and what to do if you do not.

I particularly appreciated the writing style: the authors create a sense of "we know what you are going through" throughout the text and they provide enough quips to keep it light but very informative.

This is required reading if you are unfamiliar with the process and it is even better if you are looking for some encouragement along the way.
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This book sheds a bright light on the hurdles ahead for the aspiring law professor, from what it takes to stand a chance to landing an actual position teaching law. The writing is entertaining and easy to read, and the authors are thorough and candid. There's no sugarcoating; some candidates simply won’t be competitive…ever. Like most relevant blogs and articles, the book emphasizes over and again the importance of quality scholarship that's been published by law reviews (the more prestigious the better). According to the book (and everyone else who speaks on the matter), one must work on scholarship a year or two (or five) before standing a real chance at a tenure track position, save a few Supreme Court clerks who graduated from Yale. As the book details, a candidate may also need to earn a PhD, land a visiting professor gig, or "launder" their JD with an LLM from a top tier school to become competitive. The early chapters address these matters. The remainder of the book, for the most part, speaks to those budding scholars who already have acceptable qualifications. To that end, the book is packed with highly detailed and useful information. It’s a must buy for those folks. For the rest of us, it’s an easy, interesting read with some useful guidance about long-term goals and what it takes to get a foot in the door teaching law somewhere. In the meantime, there are law review articles waiting to be written.
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